Business & Legal

10 Awesome Cannabis Packaging Design Trends for 2018

Written by Staff

Cannabis packaging is a mixture of art and science. Very often, you can pull ideas from other non-cannabis products, everything from surveying your local grocery store to online shopping stores, like It’s no secret that packaging design is an ever-evolving process that has to meet the marijuana packaging industry’s needs yearly. One of the most important needs is the reliance on e-commerce. It is important to recreate the visual experience our market is used to seeing in the stores. However, this is not always easy. Doing a little research and studying the upcoming trends for the new year can be a big help in getting you started in the right direction. Keep in mind that it’s really about the unboxing experience, not just the visual impact. With that being said,  let’s look at ten upcoming trends for the cannabis packaging industry in 2018:

  1. Minimalism & Simplicity – this type of design concept has been around for quite some time. Keeping things simple can help you to tap into your consumer’s intuitive side. One of the main challenges, though, in working with minimal designs is finding the right symbols that your market can relate to. However, once you’ve nailed that, your concept will be self-explanatory. You will not need many words and some packaging designs have less then 4 words on them with great success. Those that pull this type of design concept off use less language, enabling their consumers to quickly and easily grasp what the product is all about. Good examples of this is Soylent Drink and Abacus Pills.
  2. Pastels – this kind of marijuana packaging design has already proven to be a hit. This is because the pastels feel more calming than the explosive colors we’re used to. A soft pale effect gives your product a nice warm vibe, which is translated into a welcoming and pleasurable message. Instead of dazzling your market with over-stimulating colors, pastels gently ease them into looking, touching, smelling, and eventually making a purchase. Check out Behance Lucid Cannabis Skincare and Pearly Yon for a good example of pastel cannabis packaging.
  3. Doodles – you didn’t think your doodles could be worth anything, did you? Well, everybody loves doodles – from 6-year-olds to 80-year-olds, we all doodle at some point. Adults will relate to this kind of doodling, because it is a reminder of a happy-go-lucky childhood. And a good doodle can bring a smile to anyone. When doodles are seen on cannabis packaging, it can turn into a really cool and fun concept. Best of all, it is something that comes straight from your imagination that you’re now sharing with the rest of the word. Often, people are already smiling before they even reach out to touch the product. Doodles enable you to tap into your market’s playful and creative side. Check out Behance Cat Cookies and Loud Frog for some great examples of doodles in packaging.
  4. Movie Poster – here is where you can work entertainment into your packaging. You’ll evoke the same excitement that movie goers have, except it taps into the collectors heart. Movie poster packaging works very well with product lines that already have an established fan base. It’s a lot more difficult to pull this one off with a wider market sector. So if you already have a raving fan base, you can think about using movie poster design for your product line. Movie poster cannabis packaging transports your market with a narrative that is intimately linked to your product itself. This creates a unique, unmistakable brand. Check out Director Beer for a really cool example.
  5. Vibrant Gradients – this has also been making a strong comeback. More and more gradients can be seen in packaging, which of course adds form and depth to the packaging. Check out Blend Drinks to see gradient packaging design at its best.
  6. Holographic – this can turn the ordinary into the super extraordinary. Holographic foil adds three dimensionality, depth and with varying colors will add value and elegance to your cannabis packaging. Holographic marijuana packaging can give paper or plastic a very cool metallic effect that doesn’t tarnish. Also, the effect will bring some flair to your design. Have a look at Black and Bone and Kola Premium Cannabis to see their awesome holographic designs.
  7. Photography – this has always been a very close connection to the packaging design world. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The visual message that a photograph conveys can have the ability to stop your consumer in their tracks and give your product a moment of pause. It also enables you to just go wild with creativity and create a collage of photographs on your packaging. A good example of this is Bear The Chef.
  8. Vintage – without knowing the past, we cannot move forward. Our collective reality has been shaped and molded by the past and this is why vintage packaging is another upcoming trend. Vintage packaging can give your market the best of both worlds, the past and the present. Also, with vintage packaging, you can capture the most essential part of culture, future, past and present. In some cases, vintage design can also offer a way to show dedication to a high standard of quality. It can enable you to tell a story of passion, history, respect and tradition. This can help you to establish a lasting brand identity. To see some good examples of vintage packaging, take a look at Henry’s Original , Mayfield Gin, and Haudegen Beer.
  9. Unique Materials & Shapes – another upcoming cannabis packaging design trend is using innovative materials and shapes. While this is considered “extreme packaging”, it is meant in a really positive way. Think about turning your THC infused edible packaging into a tree stump, for example. This means that the only thing you’re left to do is to put your logo on. It can showcase ingenuity and thoughtfulness, which is something you want to aim for when developing your brand’s identity.
  10. Copying of Other Patterns – nothing exists in a vacuum and that includes the cannabis packaging industry. Many successful packaging designs within the industry come from other markets, like the food industry for example.  This trend to pull from  already established market sectors like the food industry will surely continue on through 2018.

The clash between the old and the new, the freestyle and organized is what cannabis packaging trends are made of. As long as we’re able to find the middle way between these two opposites, we will continue to find a way to push boundaries, innovate, progress and thrive. Who knew that packaging, and more specifically marijuana packaging could be so exciting!?


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